Ramapo officials: Poor service leads town to cut ties with emergency service
The town of Ramapo announced Tuesday it's no longer sending 911 calls to the Ramapo Valley Ambulance Corps.
The announcement followed years of disagreements between leaders of the volunteer organization and the town over finances and service response times.
"After giving them opportunities to fix the problem, we had no choice but to cease dispatching them through the town's 911 emergency dispatch system," said Ramapo Town Supervisor Michael Specht.
Spring Hill Community Ambulance Corps in Spring Valley and William P. Faist Volunteer Ambulance Corps in Chestnut Ridge will jointly cover the town's emergency calls.
"Today, we are happy to step up and start servicing the residents of both Hillburn and Sloatsburg. We would like to thank the Town of Ramapo, the Villages of Sloatsburg, Suffern, and Hillburn, and their residents, for the opportunity and their continued trust and faith in Spring Hill Community Ambulance," wrote Ephriam Tauber, Spring Hill Community Ambulance Corps Chief.
"It will be our privilege to continue to serve our fellow residents by providing high-level care and rapid response to the additional areas of the Town of Ramapo. We recognize the need presented to us and are ready to ensure when the call for help is received, care is ready to respond 24 hours a day, seven days a week," wrote Lisa Goldberg, William P. Faist Volunteer Ambulance Corps Board of Directors chair.
Specht said the decision to cut ties with RVAC came down to missed dispatch calls, delayed response times, failure to cooperate on financial reports and a lack of effort to correct outstanding issues.
"The only thing that factored into this decision was the lapses in service and the failure to rectify it. The lawsuit did not have a bearing in on it," said Specht.
The corps previously filed a lawsuit against the town claiming it has taken steps to put the organization out of business by directing 911 calls to other locations and withholding critical funds — allegations the town denies.
Specht added the ongoing litigation has nothing to do with Tuesday's decision.
The attorney representing RVAC leadership has not yet responded to News 12's request for comment.
"The town did plenty of underhanded things towards RVAC but there's a lot of faults with the RVAC leadership in itself," said Izzy Landau, a 20-year member of the Ramapo Valley Ambulance Corps.
Landau does worry about the impact this decision will have on providing emergency services to the town.
"It's going to take a little longer for members to get to the building, therefore, delaying the response time," said Landau.
Ultimately, Landau puts some of the blame on RVAC's leadership for making unilateral decisions and keeping volunteers in the dark.
"A lot of people were leaving. A lot of people were getting kicked out for the wrong reasons because they didn't agree with the leadership's point of view."
Specht says the town board is now working on finding satellite locations to house ambulances closer to where RVAC was located to decrease response times to those residents.
Leaders with RVAC have not yet responded to News 12's request for comment.